To the Editor,

    There are four people running for two positions on the Board of Directors of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. Gail Mahood is clearly the best choice. With a PhD in Geology and experience as a professor and administrator at Stanford University, she is perfectly suited to help with the issues facing the Water District. Not only does Gail have an extensive scientific background, she has considerable experience working with diverse groups of colleagues, writing grant applications, and uniting a wide range of opinions.

    Equally important to her experience and knowledge is Gail's apolitical, fact-based, decision-making process. Her only agenda is the health and sustainability of our water and the long term fiscal stability of our Water District. She would be an excellent and valuable addition to our Board of Directors. I urge my fellow Valley residents to check out her very informative website at and read her numerous Nextdoor posts which clearly explain the issues regarding our water quality and debris flow problems after the CZU fires.

Mike Fresco, Felton


    I am among an overwhelming majority who voted for change in the 2018 SLV water district election. We as a community have benefited by having a board able take a strong stance representing us in setting policy and financial oversight. If not for those who took these duties seriously, we would not have the reserves and mindset ready to take on the present fire disaster rebuilding ahead.

    In looking at candidates for this year’s election, I’m concerned we do not backslide into complacency or elect those who may fall back to the well-worn path of higher rates as the sole answer to everything. In keeping with the momentum of 2018, it is clear we need to retain hands-on board oversight of the finances with the dynamic vision and direction needed to keep our water district focused, healthy and affordable for everyone.

With that vision in mind two candidates stand out miles ahead, Beth Thomas and Lew Farris. Both are well-known from years of service locally, but most importantly, through their deep roots here know the people, businesses and heart of our community and understand what it takes to be our public representative. Both bring unique and powerful skills to the board: Lew his astute science-based analysis skills to the district while serving on the board as an appointee, and Beth her proven administrative and financial oversight capabilities in our local school district and  while serving as citizen chair of the water district facilities committee. Our district needs their strong leadership skills to help continue the positive change of direction.

   This year it is critical that we fill board seats with those who know us and honor our community’s vision. To continue on that exciting path of change blazed in 2018, please vote for Beth Thomas and Lew Farris.

Debra Loewen , Lompico Canyon

I write to express my wholehearted support for Professor Gail Mahood as Director of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.

         Water is life. We all depend on it. So do the vibrant ecosystems that make our home so special. The threats to our water are highly technical: aging infrastructure on steep terrain, groundwater overdraft, wildfire, climate change. Some solutions are straightforward problems of engineering and business management, but most require judgment based on best available science. Professor Mahood’s expertise at the highest levels of science – Professor and Department Chair at Stanford University – is so enormously valuable.

         Professor Mahood’s specialization, geology, is at the core of our water resource challenges. It is the large rare event – wildfire, earthquake, landslide, flood – that shapes our landscape and destroys our infrastructure. It is the slight imbalance, easy to overlook, that gradually ruins the resource: pumping a bit too much groundwater, or leaving a bit too little water in the streams for fish migration year after year. Geology is the study of large rare events and barely perceptible processes, and how they shape our world. Water resource management is the most direct example of where geology meets daily life.

      Furthermore, Professor Mahood’s was the Chair of the Stanford Faculty Senate, so she is exceptionally qualified in facilitating constructive, respectful discussion. What a terrific skill to bring to the Board. With a graduate degree in hydrology myself, and a career in natural resource management through collaboration, I am so excited to see a powerhouse like Professor Mahood on the ballot. What the world needs now is more science, not less. More collaboration, not less. After her full career and well-deserved retirement, she stepped up to give her time to serving our community. Let’s jump at the chance to say 'Yes'!

Bryan Largay, Felton

I am deeply impressed with Gil Mahood‘s qualifications as a candidate for San Lorenzo Valley Water District. As a scientist and retired professor of geology at Stanford University, Gail has relevant knowledge of our water systems and watershed. She understands our water district’s water supply issues and realizes the challenges that our unique geography and geology pose to maintaining safe, affordable water.

Our water district staff have done a heroic job bringing water service back online after the devastating fire. Gail will help us make the decisions to bring pipelines up to modern standards, make cost benefit analysis that consider long-term safety from natural hazards, and make our water system more efficient.

Gail understands watershed functions, wildfire risks and recovery, groundwater issues, natural hazards that impact district facilities and post-fire contamination of groundwater, distribution lines, and home plumbing by VOCs and toxic trace metals

We are very fortunate to have her as a candidate. I look forward to her leadership and

problem-solving skills.

Robin Musitelli, Brookdale

I am writing to explain why I am strongly supporting Gail Mahood for one of the two open positions on the Board of Director for the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. Gail has over 40 years of experience studying and teaching about earth sciences, including hydrology, geology, and watershed management. Gail’s extensive scientific experience in both geology and water issues would be a huge asset, as the SLV Water Board grapples with how to balance water supplies from surface and ground water and works to manage the aftermath of the CZU fire. Many readers have certainly read about the potential for massive debris flows following the extensive areas that burned, and having somebody on the board who deeply understands erosion processes and risks will be invaluable as our forests and community recover. In addition, Gail is gifted in communicating complex issues about water infrastructure, water quality, and erosion in an understandable way to people with a range of scientific backgrounds, which is key for this position. I encourage you to read for yourself her discussion of important topics for the water district at

Gail also brings extensive leadership, budget management, and teamwork skills from her many years as a college professor and is experienced working with people with divergent views on complex issues. She is committed to working with other SLVWD Directors to improve the efficiency of decision-making and to focus discussions on the issues that have the most important fiscal and environmental effects on SLV residents. She will work with her fellow Directors to improve the sustainability of our water supply system and do so in a way that minimizes costs to ratepayers. 

Karen Holl, Felton

We need Laura Dolson for SLV School Board

Down ballot races are certainly getting less attention this election, but our local school board race is important for how our community functions.

I’d like to strongly recommend voting for Laura Dolson for SLV School Board. She’s one of the most thoughtful, caring and hard-working people I’ve ever known. As we navigate Covid and post-Covid challenges, we need Laura’s meticulous research, long school board experience, and ability to bring people together.

Laura has been particularly active in promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, as well as supporting alternative education. She’s served on almost every district-level committee, has twice been board president, and has helped to foster the calm, forward movement of the district.

That’s why she’s endorsed by both Bruce McPherson and Mark Stone.

As former school board trustee George Wylie said, she “has been an incredible leader and insightful thinker…”

Let’s keep her going!

Barbara Sprenger, Felton

I am writing in support of Gail Mahood for SLV Water District Board of Directors.  She has a wide array of skills and knowledge that would be of great value and help to our water district, especially at this time.  Her experience as Professor of Geology at Stanford University for 40 years has equipped her with a deep understanding of how to deal with post-fire contamination, water run off and debris clean up.  Over the past year, she has been actively participating in service to the Water District as a member of the Engineering Committee and has demonstrated a great understanding of the importance of working with other agencies who share our underground water supply by participating in Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency meetings. 

I’m also very impressed by the number and wide variety of people who have endorsed her, including Assemblyman Mark Stone, Supervisor Bruce McPherson, past president and current member of the Board Lois Henry, former board member and Camp Joy founder Jim Nelson, VWC Environmental Committee President Nancy Macy, and a host of others.  There are so many qualities to recommend Gail for this important position, including budgetary and fiscal knowledge gained while working as chair of the Stanford Faculty Senate and the university’s budget and strategic planning group.  

Check out her many qualifications on her website  

People who are in the difficult position of having to rebuild after the fires are being advised to consult a geologist.  Imagine the advantage of having one on our Board. My husband, Fred, served on the Water Board as well as its Environmental Committee for a number of years and continuously stressed the importance of understanding geology in order to effectively deal with issues concerning our water.  He would have been thrilled to have someone of Gail Mahood’s caliber on the Board.  

Roberta McPherson, Boulder Creek

I am delighted that Laura Dolson is eager to continue working for our children on the SLV Unified School District Board of Directors. Laura has provided extraordinary leadership and dedication for almost ten years and is still excited to serve -- and committed to the children of our San Lorenzo Valley community.

One of the most important reasons to vote for Laura is her experience in having led the national search for a Superintendent that resulted in the hiring of Laurie Bruton in May of 2014.

Ms. Bruton has been an excellent Superintendent, and upon her retirement it will be important to have someone experienced in the process to help guide the search for her replacement. Another reason is that Laura Dolson has had a major role in improving STEM education in our schools at every level. These are small examples of her many accomplishments. We need her experience, her energy, her dedication, and I highly recommend her for re-election for the SLVUSD Board of Education.

Nancy Macy, Boulder Creek

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